Bird in Berthoud keeps a smile on faces in town

BERTHOUD, Colo. -- In Berthoud, there's one thing that keeps everyone going no matter what life brings.

In the rural Front Range town, where the population sits just over 5,000, there is one thing that keeps everyone laughing.

“She’s very, very friendly,” Marie Howard who works in Berthoud said.

Doreen Shumpert also works in Berthoud, and she says, “Sometimes she’s really quiet and then other times, as soon as she hits the door she’ll start talking away.”

Berthoud is a town where everyone knows everyone.

“I joke that she’s my favorite customer,” Shumpert said.

It's hard to find someone in town who doesn't know Zoe.

“She is like a little celebrity,” Howard said.

Zoe is a 23-year-old cockatoo. While they say dogs are usually a man's best friend, Zoe, the cockatoo, is Mike Jenkins' best friend.

Everyday Jenkins takes Zoe on a walk around town. They go to all the hot spots including the bank, post office, hardware store and drug store.

It doesn't matter where you go, everyone is always happy to see Zoe. Even folks on the street stop and wave.

“Everybody loves that bird," Howard said. "She brightens everyone’s day.”

Locals will admit, they've never seen anything quite like this.

“If you think about it, it’s such an unusual thing to see a person walking around with a bird on his arm," Howard said.

Locals also say they wouldn't have it any other way. Adults love Zoe, the kids love Zoe, and most importantly, it gives Jenkins a companion.

"Keeps me going I guess," Jenkins said.

It's a relationship between bird and man, that's probably best explained by Jenkins' daughter.

“Very shy, and keeps to himself, so I think that is his connection to people is to have her kind of in between that," Nicole Jenkins, Mike Jenkins' daughter said.

For 14 years both Mike Jenkins and Zoe have made their rounds.

"I need all the exercise I can get," Jenkins said.

Zoe keeps Jenkins going, and lifts everyone up in the process.

Zoe is young. Jenkins says birds like his tend to live into their 80s, so the pair shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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